In time for Valen­tine’s

Hyundai’s new Veloster, a coupe/cross­over, has hit the Aus­tralian mar­ket just in time for Valen­tine’s Day

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE -

HYUNDAI has spiced up its Aus­tralian model line-up with the in­no­va­tive, head­turn­ing com­pact coupe/cross­over.

Dubbed the Veloster and built on the new Elantra plat­form, the stylish three­door made its de­but at the Detroit mo­tor show in Jan­uary last year.

The stand­out fea­ture of the Veloster is that it has two doors on one side and a sin­gle door on the other— a fea­ture that sim­pli­fies rear-seat ac­cess.

Al­ready on sale in Korea and the US from last year, Veloster un­der­went steer­ing and sus­pen­sion tweak­ing in Australia to tune it for lo­cal con­di­tions.

In a racy red, it’s the per­fect match for young cou­ples and is on the mar­ket just in time for Valen­tine’s Day on Tues­day.

It’s def­i­nitely bound to turn heads and have Gen Y mo­torists more than a lit­tle bit love­struck.

Un­like the Mini wagon that has a sim­i­lar one-side ex­tra door set-up, for right-hand-drive mar­kets the Veloster’s rear-hinged unit is on the left-hand or kerb side for pas­sen­ger safety rather than the driver’s side as is the case on the right-hand-drive Mini. TECH­NOL­OGY: Veloster buy­ers will have the choice of mat­ing a new 1.6-litre, di­rect-in­jec­tion, petrol four with ei­ther a new six-speed dual-clutch au­to­matic or a man­ual box with the same num­ber of cogs.

The auto is Hyundai’s first dual-clutch unit and it was de­vel­oped in-house. It en­dows the sexy lit­tle coupe with­a5or 6 per cent boost in fuel ef­fi­ciency and a 3 to 7 per cent im­prove­ment in ac­cel­er­a­tion.

The new so-called Gamma en­gine is the small­est Hyundai makes and de­liv­ers 103kw at 6300rpm and 167Nm at 4850rpm.

Hyundai claims fuel-con­sump­tion of a pretty miserly 5.9-litres dur­ing high­way cruis­ing.

The en­gine has dual con­tin­u­ously vari­able valve tim­ing, elec­tronic throt­tle con­trol, vari­able in­duc­tion, an­tifric­tion coat­ings and di­a­mond-like car­bon coat­ings.

It rides on a Macpher­son-strut front and rear end with mono-tube dampers for en­hanced ride com­fort.

In the safety depart­ment, Veloster scores a full suite of the good stuff in­clud­ing ve­hi­cle-sta­bil­ity-man­age­ment.

Styled at Hyundai’s stu­dio at the Namyang R and Dcen­tre, the de­sign­ers drew their in­spi­ra­tion from a high­per­for­mance sport mo­tor­cy­cle.

Black A-pil­lars give the wind­screen a mo­tor­cy­cle hel­met look.

In­side is dom­i­nated by a cen­tre stack and con­trols that also have a mo­tor­cy­cle as their in­spi­ra­tion.

Also bor­rowed from the mo­tor­cy­cle is the floor-mounted cen­tre-con­sole arm­rest that has been de­signed to look like a bike seat. SAFETY: In Euro NCAP test­ing, the sporty lit­tle Veloster scored the equal high­est rat­ing for adult pas­sen­ger safety, with 96 per cent, while child safety was rated the high­est score in the lat­est tests at 89 per cent. Safety-as­sist tech­nolo­gies were rated a bit lower in com­par­i­son, with a score of 71 per cent. DRIV­ING: In Korea for a first sam­ple of the Veloster, we were limited to a short sec­tion of the Namyang prov­ing ground known as the ‘‘high-speed han­dling road’’ and it was a sec­tion of bi­tu­men that did not quite live up to its ti­tle.

That said, we were able to get the Veloster up to about 150km/h and throw it with some en­thu­si­asm through a few cor­ners in the US spec cars at our dis­posal.

The lit­tle car sat nice and flat through the cor­ners and it seemed to point and turn-in well.

How­ever, the elec­tronic sta­bil­ity sys­tem did kick in with a de­gree of in­tru­sion if you pushed things too hard for its lik­ing.

But the ini­tial im­pres­sions were good and if the steer­ing and sus­pen­sion-tun­ing pro­gram un­der­taken in Australia de­liv­ers the goods, the Veloster will hold its own in the han­dling stakes.

The new dual-clutch six-speed au­to­matic works a treat and ap­pears to be as good as any­thing from Europe.

Pic­tures: ELISE DERWIN

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